14:30 (BST); Saturday 16th September; Allianz Arena (Munich, Germany)
Hosts Bayern Munich have had an indifferent week in the build-up to their match-up with Mainz on Saturday afternoon.
Mainz themselves enter Week 4 in questionable form; two defeats to start the season, but an excellent win last time out sees optimism creeping in as they continue to fine-tune their style of play under manager Sandro Schwarz.
The pressure will be on Bayern to perform.
All the outside noise with ex-players calling for Robert Lewandowski to be sold and Carlo Ancelotti set to leave in January could play on the minds of Bayern supporters and the players in this match-up with Mainz.
Last time out
BAYERN MUNICH 3-0 Anderlecht [Champions League]
After a defeat to Hoffenheim in the league, Bayern would hope that the Champions League would be a much happier outing.
It was all Bayern from the outset and took only 12 minutes to take the lead after Sven Kums fouled Robert Lewandowski in the area. Kums was given a straight red and Lewandowski converted from the spot.
The hosts continued to dominate the contest, but their second goal didn’t come until the 65th minute.
Joshua Kimmich’s ball was met by Thiago for his first goal of the 2017/18 season.
Bayern finished the scoring in stoppage time as Kimmich found himself on the scoresheet as he dribbled around the ‘keeper and into the empty net.
MAINZ 3-1 Bayer Leverkusen [Bundesliga]
Mainz were looking to break their duck as they hosted Bayer Leverkusen at the Opel Arena.
Proceedings started poorly for Mainz as they fell behind after 22 minutes, with Wendell playing in Dominik Kohr who scored past Rene Adler, the third goal he’s conceded this season.
However, Mainz fought back and before halftime, they levelled the scores through Yoshinori Muto for Mainz’s first goal of the season.
Mainz continued to build momentum and eventually took the lead after 57 minutes as new signing Abdou Diallo headed home Levin Oztunali’s free-kick.
The hosts ultimately put the game beyond the reach of Leverkusen with less than 20 minutes remaining as substitute Suat Serdar scored past the outstretched Bernd Leno.
Bayern Munich Lineup
After securing their first Champions League win on Tuesday night, Carlo Ancelotti will look for his side to build on that performance.
James Rodriguez made his first Bayern start and with a displeased Thomas Müller in the wings, it looks like the Colombian will start once again behind Robert Lewandowski.
Mats Hummels was given a rest against Anderlecht but should be back in action against Mainz.
It would seem the 5-4-1 formation may be the way Mainz could line-up for the near future as they attempt to steal a point in Munich.
The formation worked wonders against Bayer Leverkusen and we expect it to be implemented against Bayern.
No injuries to note for Sandro Schwarz’s side as Mainz are expected to go in unchanged.
Key Battle: Arjen Robben vs Daniel Brosinski
Arjen Robben is still one of the most devastating players on the right side of midfield going around today.
The 33-year-old Dutchman continues to terrorise defences, and it’s amazing how defenders still get sucked into the same moves that Robben has performed time and time again over his career.
This season, Robben has drawn a blank in goals and assists, but it’s only a matter of time.
His opponent Daniel Brosinski will need to be on his game at the Allianz Arena to keep the flying Dutchman off the scoresheet.
The key for Brosinski will be to stay goal side as Robben is a left-footed player that operates on the right.
Therefore, keeping the Dutchman from cutting in on his left to shoot will be critical because we already know the result when Robben is given the chance.
Manager Sandro Schwarz will know the importance of keeping their defensive shape and trying to absorb as much pressure as possible from a relentless Bayern Munich attack.
However, Mainz will still need to create and show intent going forward otherwise there wouldn’t be much point in them turning up.
Last week in the Bundesliga, Hoffenheim showcased an effective way to defeat Bayern Munich and they only had six efforts on goal at home.
If Mainz can still show an endeavour to go forward, they could come away with something on Saturday afternoon.
Bayern Munich carved up Anderlecht on Tuesday night in the Champions League, granted that the Belgian champions went down to ten men just 12 minutes in.
The record champions had 76% possession and outshot Anderlecht 28 to 6. That is the dominance that Bayern need on Saturday afternoon to send a message to the rest of the Bundesliga that they’re still the favourites.
Another slip up in the league could see sides like Dortmund and Leipzig capitalise in the early going of the season.
PREDICTION: Bayern Munich 2-0 Mainz
Bayern Munich enter this Week 4 clash as heavy favourites and anything but a win for the record champions would be a surprise.
Mainz do have a relatively good record at the Allianz Arena, but that won’t count for too much as Bayern look to reassert themselves into a domestic groove.
Bayern to win comfortably in front of a capacity crowd in Munich.
Can Mainz spring a surprise at the Allianz Arena or will Bayern Munich return to winning ways in the Bundesliga? Let us know in the comments section below
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